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March 25, 2012

STARKVILLE, Miss. – No. 40 South Carolina dropped a 6-1 decision to No. 12 Mississippi State Sunday afternoon at A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre, putting the Bulldogs (14-4, 5-1 SEC) in sole possession of first place in the SEC West Division. The Gamecocks (13-7, 0-6 SEC) battled to a tiebreak in the final doubles match and got their point from freshman Andrew Adams, who defeated a nationally ranked foe for the second time this season in straight sets.

The Gamecocks were primed for the battle early, surging ahead with freshmen Kyle Koch and Carl Eguez picked up a quick 8-5 win over Zach White and Ethan Wilkinson in the No. 3 doubles match. The Bulldogs answered as their top tandem of George Coupland and Artem Ilyushin fought back with an 8-5 win over the nation’s 64th-ranked doubles team of Chip Cox and Nick Jones. With both teams aiming to get on the board first, the No. 2 match was going down to the wire. Ivan Machado and Thiago Pinheiro led 8-7, looking to break the serve of the nation’s No. 24 tandem of Louis Cant and Matle Stropp to clinch the doubles point. The Bulldog duo held serve to send the match to a tiebreak, which they controlled early and won 7-2 to deliver the match’s first point to Mississippi State.

South Carolina surged ahead in the first set of several singles matches, but the Bulldogs’ four nationally ranked players recovered to win the first sets in five of the six matches. James Chaundry doubled his team’s lead with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Jones in the No. 2 match, and No. 36 Coupland made it a 3-0 advantage when South Carolina’s Pinheiro dropped the first set in a tiebreak and was forced to retire early in the second set. No. 37 Cant fought off a valiant effort from Koch in the No. 5 match, winning each set by just a single service break in a 6-4, 6-4 win that sealed the team outcome for the Bulldogs.

The Gamecocks picked up their point in the day’s final match on court. A notorious grinder in a match, Adams battled past No. 113 Stropp in the No. 3 match 6-3, 6-4. It was the Gamecock freshman’s second win in an SEC dual match and his first over a ranked player in dual-match action.

South Carolina returns to the friendly confines of Carolina Tennis Center next weekend, playing its final home matches of the season. The Gamecocks host No. 61 Alabama in their first home night match as first serve on Fri., March. 30, is set for 5 p.m. There will be various activities for area youth as the match is part of the USTA/ITA Campus Kids’ Days program. More details will be announced this week. Prior to Sunday’s 1 p.m. start against No. 19 Auburn, South Carolina will honor its two seniors in the final home matches of their careers.

No. 12 Mississippi State 6, No. 40 South Carolina 1

Doubles (Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2)
1. George Coupland/Artem Ilyushin (MSU) def. (64) Chip Cox/Nick Jones (SC) 8-5
2. (24) Louis Cant/Malte Stropp (MSU) def. Ivan Machado/Thiago Pinheiro (SC) 9-8 (2)
3. Kyle Koch/Carl Eguez (SC) def. Zach White/Ethan Wilkinson (MSU) 8-5

Singles (Order of Finish: 2, 4, 5, 1, 6, 3)
1. (14) Artem Ilyushin (MSU) def. (104) Ivan Machado (SC) 6-4, 6-2
2. James Chaudry (MSU) def. Nick Jones (SC) 6-2, 6-0
3. Andrew Adams (SC) def. (113) Malte Stropp (MSU) 6-3, 6-4
4. (36) George Coupland (MSU) def. (117) Thiago Pinheiro (SC) 7-6 (2), 1-0 (ret.)
5. (37) Louis Cant (MSU) def. Kyle Koch (SC) 6-4, 6-4
6. Zach White (MSU) def. Carl Eguez (SC) 6-2, 6-2